Wests Tigers are counting down the top 15 moments in the Club’s history to commemorate with their 15th Anniversary NRL season.
As voted by the fans, here’s Moment No. 10.
When Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater kicked to the corner behind Tim Simona, he was most likely confident that he’d done enough to pin the youngster in his own end. Even if he couldn’t force a repeat set, the Australian international had surely at least kept him close to his own goal-line and close to the left-hand touchline.
That’s what many would have thought, anyway.
Having already blown away the Storm with a sensational individual try to start the match, Simona was again about to turn the match on its head.
He picked up the ball, turned away from Slater, and took off down the sideline.
And despite Leichhardt Oval pouring with rain, he began to pull away.
As he turned inside Cooper Cronk crossing halfway, it was just Simona and New Zealand international Benji Marshall against nine Storm defenders.
The move — as swift and decisive as it had been from Simona so far — had surely come to a halt with Wests Tigers needing to maintain possession.
Again: that’s what you would have thought, anyway.
Simona linked up with Marshall, who then danced away from two defenders on his right before passing the ball out wide to captain Robbie Farah.
Farah drifted right, and then found Blake Ayshford on his inside.
The centre burst his way through the cover-defence before diving towards the line. And despite the attention of several Storm defenders, the rain, and a ground not designed for fleet-footed attack, Ayshford had done enough to plant the ball on the line.
It was a length-of-the-field try to remember, but also a key moment in the match as well, with Wests Tigers able to extend their lead just before the break.
That lead would pave the way for a memorable upset against the Storm, and give Wests Tigers fans a rare highlight from an otherwise disappointing 2013 season.
Had youngster David Nofoaluma not soared high against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles a few rounds later, Ayshford’s effort could well have been awarded the Dally M Try of the Year — such was the teamwork and individual brilliance that it contained.
Either way, it was still an incredibly special moment to savour indeed.
For both Wests Tigers and their fans alike.